Zucca in Saor ( Sweet and sour squash)

November 12, 2010

Zucca in Saor ( Sweet and sour squash)
Posted November 12, 2010 by davide
This venetian recipe is basically a vegetarian version of its most popular one called "Sarde in saor" (Sweet and sour sardines). The original recipe was inspired to the venetian cooks many centuries ago by their need to preserve some particular food they had in abundance all the year long, sardines and onions. As the venetians were part of a merchant republic importing spices and exotic ingredients from the East the dish has interesting additions like raisins, cinnamon and pine kernels. If you go and visit Venice and take the challenge to find a proper "bacaro", the venetian version of a pub with kitchen, you can taste it in a typical atmosphere together with a glass of house wine.

  • Prep Time:
    20 min
  • Cook Time:
    20 min
  • Ready Time:
    40 min


8 servings


  • 1 kilogram Butternut squash(or any other winter squash) sliced 1 cm thick
  • 600 grams cooking onions finely sliced
  • 5 to 8 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 100 grams raisins soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 150 grams pine kernels lightly toasted
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder


Peel the butternut squash , remove the seeds and cut it  into 1 cm thick slices.
Place your slices on a no-stick oven tray with a drizzle of olive oil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 10/15 minutes or until the squash bend easily under your fingers pressure without breaking apart.
You can alternatively pan fry the squash with olive oil until cooked trough but still firm.In both ways you must take care the squash slices do not get brown.

Once you have cooked all the squash set it aside and start cooking the sliced onions in a heavy-bottomed frying pan with two tablespoons of olive oil and bay leaves on medium heat.Even in this case make sure the onions do not get brown but cook them until soft and starting to release their natural sugars.At this point add 5/8 tablespoons of vinegar according to how much sour you want your “zucca in saor” and let it evaporate.Add the pre-soaked raisins, pine kernels and cinnamon and cook for further two minutes.

Place a layer of butternut squash on a serving plate or glass tray and cover it with a layer of onions mixture. Repeat with another layer as you were preparing lasagne.

Let it rest in the fridge at least for one night but cooks from my region say that it is at its best after two days of resting.

If you want to eat it the way  venetians do serve it at room temperature as a starter together with salame, seasoned cheese and bread.


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